Rebecca West: Celebrity, Publicity, Memory

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International Rebecca West Society
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Rebecca West: Celebrity, Publicity, Memory

New York University, September 210-22, 2013

Centering on the contested and still-evolving reputation of Rebecca West, Although Rebecca West created a wide-ranging, original, and important body of work, her reputation has always been a matter of contestation. Indeed, to the frustration of scholars, her name remains linked to the better-known H.G. Wells, the lover of her youth and the father of her only child Anthony West, as recent books and films have shown (such as David Lodge's A Man of Parts and the Wells biopic War with the World).
tThis conference explores the processes by which a celebrity writer's reputation passes into cultural memory. How have scholars shaped her reputation by selectively creatiedng their own Rebecca Wests? How do these recent cultural representations reinforce or contest her reputation? How did West's peers create or contribute to the memory of West? How did West's manipulation of her own image affect the way she is remembered? How does the history of West’s celebrity—the shaping and misshaping of her image—compare to that of other writers and artists of her period? Are women writers, and West, remembered primarily in a gender context? How can we understand West in light of recent theorizing of modernist celebrity by critics such as Aaron Jaffe and Faye Hammill? And what does West’s work contribute to conceptualizing larger aspects of personal and cultural memory? These questions, and others, can productively frame discussions of West's fictional and non-fictional work. We also welcome abstracts on other topics related to West's voluminous oeuvre.

Please send abstracts of up to 200 words by MayMarch 15, 2013, to Ann Norton at

cfp categories: 
modernist studies